Monday, August 1, 2016

July Books

July was another big month with books.  I read a LOT and I read 4 non-fictions (which is crazy for me!).  We went to the beach with Bech's family, and I think I knocked out 4 books on that trip alone!  Last month, I feel like a lot of the books I read were just so-so.  This month, almost every single one of them was amazing!

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

I am a HUGE Veronica Mars fan.  I have watched the series multiple times and I saw the movie a couple of years ago.  When I heard there was a book series, I knew I needed to read it.

If you are a VMars fan, this series picks up after the movie.  Veronica is back in Neptune and working as a Private Eye with her dad.  You will love it!

If you aren't a VMars fan, I think it would probably still be a good read, but you'll miss a lot of references to the past and inside jokes.  I would suggest watching the series (it's only 3 seasons).  Actually, you should watch the series anyway.  It's one of my favorites.

Mr. Kiss and Tell

I had to read the next book in the series!  I actually listened to this book, thanks to a free Audible trial.  The reader for this is obviously a VMars fan, because she does a great job on all of the characters voices.

Both of these books are mysteries.  The first is about two kidnappings and the second about a rape case, so heads up, not light reading.  But in typical Mars fashion, somehow its witty, dark, and fast paced in the best way.

These Is My Words

My mom gave me this book about a year ago, and I just now read it.  Wow, SO good!

It's a diary of a young girl who lives out West during the late 1800's.  It follows her life as she journeys on two wagon trains and gets married and has children.  This book was incredible.  I love reading diary style books and I love reading about this time period.

The true mark of how much I like a book is whether or not I will reread it (I reread all of my favorites). This book is definitely a reread!

Giddy Up, Eunice

I have been waiting for this book for months now, and I got to be on the launch team for it.  But, of course, my book took forever to get up to Vermont so I read it a couple of weeks after it came out.  It did not disappoint.

I wasn't quite sure at first, though, what this book would be like.  Sophia Hudson, BooMama, is a hilarious author and blogger (I've been reading her blog for about 8 years).  Her first two books are memoir style, collections of personal stories.  But she did something very different on this newer book.  The whole book is about the relationships between Christian women in different stages of life. For a humorous author, that's pretty deep subject matter.  I was nervous about how Sophie would handle the topic.  Would it be too funny or light hearted?  Apparently she also struggled with this balance.

But she did it.  She somehow kept her tone and managed to write a really powerful book.  I would recommend this book to any woman, young and old.

“When the Holy Spirit in one woman recognizes and responds to the Holy Spirit in another woman, safe places become sacred places.”

Atlas Girl

My mom lent me this book a year ago as well.  I started this book twice, but put it down after a couple of pages both times.  She writes very Ann Voskamp-y, lots of incomplete phrases, flowery words, adjectives (oh the adjectives!), and I just wasn't so sure about that all at first.  But the third time, I just kept reading and I fell in love

There is so much going on in this book, so I don't want to say exactly what it's about.  But I guess the tagline is right--"finding home in the last place I thought to look."  Emily just tells her story--her brokenness, her healing, her family, her marriage--and it is just a really beautiful book.

“I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how this story will end. All I know is that there is a very real God whom my mother adores, and if she, in all her pain and suffering, can still radiate worship, how much more should I? He sees the little sparrow fall. He sees my mum dancing to the rhythms of his grace, and he sees me in all my anger trying to love him in spite of it all. So I will continue to trust, even if it means letting her go.” 

The Sound of Gravel

A friend gave me this book for my birthday.  It's the story of Ruth Wariner's childhood, growing up in the polygamist, fundamental LeBaron colony in Mexico.

This book is really interesting!  What I appreciated the most is how straight forward it is.  Ruth has left the colony and you see why through the story.  But at the same time, she doesn't put her spin on events or add her own commentary.  She simply remembers life and leaves the rest to the reader.

The Madwoman Upstairs

This was one of my favorites this month.  It's the story of Samantha Whipple's first year at Oxford University, in Oxford, England, where she is reading literature.  But at the same time, she's wrapped up in trying to figure out her father's will and whether or not he's left her a treasure of Brontë artifacts (because Samantha is the last living Brontë descendant).

The story is interesting enough on its own, but what I loved is how it's chock full of literary history and theory!  I don't know if someone who wasn't an English major or minor would enjoy that aspect as much.  This was Lowell's debut novel, and I can't wait to read her next book!

Dandelion Dust

I've always enjoyed Karen Kingsbury in the summer.  Her books won't win any academic awards, but they are still enjoyable to read.

This book is about a young couple who feels like everything is perfect in their family.  But then...duh duh duh...something changes and everything about their lives is up in the air.  I read in the forward that there is now a movie out, so I may look at my local library for that.

Jane Steele

Oh, what a fun read!  This book is a variation of Jane Eyre, or, as one reviewer describes it, a very meta take on the classic novel.

Jane Steele is constantly comparing herself to Miss Eyre as she tells her story, growing up with a French mother, going to a horrible boarding school, and disguising herself to try to win back her family estate.  It is clever and funny and a delightful read, with a lighthearted darkness about it (Is that possible?  Can that even be a thing?).  I loved it!

The Forgetting Time

I was a little less into this book.  It's about a boy who seems to be remembering a past life.   His mother connects with a psychiatrist who has studied past lives and they work to figure out who the little boy is.

This book is a page turner, and I couldn't put it down.  But when it was over, it was just, well, over.  If you like more suspenseful books, I would say this is a book for you.

The One-In-A Million Boy

I have become more than a little obsessed with Ann Bogel's podcast, What Should I Read Next.  One of the results of this obsession is that I have been analyzing my reading habits--what do I like?  Am I a plot girl? A writing style girl?  Would I rather have beautiful prose or a suspenseful story?

I am realizing that if the story is beautifully written or has compelling characters, the plot doesn't have to be super fast paced.  This book is a great example.  It's about the death of a young, quirky, perhaps OCD boy and the effect of that loss on those around him, how it changes them.  It's a slower read but really sweet.

Brown Girl Dreaming

As you can see in the picture, this book won all sorts of awards and for good reason.  This is a book of poems about Jacqueline's childhood.  She is born in Ohio, moves to Greenville, South Carolina, and finally to Brooklyn.

Her writing is simple but beautiful.  I loved the style of this book and really enjoyed reading it.

Next month will be a much slimmer month, book wise, but I have been able to knock out most of my summer reading list thus far!

I would love to know if y'all read or have read any of these and what you think!